Is IT-as-a-Service Right for Your Organization?
IT-as-a-service (ITaaS) is not an entirely new concept — after all, it’s been around for more than a decade — but its moment in the spotlight may have finally come.
A Shift in IT Resource Consumption
Over the past few years, there has been a dramatic shift in how lines-of-business (LOBs) consume IT resources. As trends such as cloud computing and the consumerization of IT settle into enterprises, many IT departments are wrestling for control of the steering wheel. LOBs have started to circumnavigate IT in favor of outside service options, such as public cloud providers and outsourcing.
For CIOs that want to take back control and ensure their services remain relevant to the organization, ITaaS may be the answer. When ITaaS is implemented effectively, it can transform IT throughout the enterprise, moving the department from a tactical role to a strategic role and potentially improving business agility throughout the organization.
However, as noted in a recent CIO article, implementing change on this level isn’t easy, quick or cheap — and it’s not without risks.
What Is the Value of IT-as-a-Service?
At its core, ITaaS is not just another cloud platform — it’s an operating model that’s all about delivering IT services with a business-centric focus. Moving away from an internal perspective on providing services, ITaaS shifts IT’s focus to delivering the best service at the most competitive price to users. While this doesn’t necessarily dictate a technology shift, such as the use of virtualization or cloud computing, it’s almost a given that the cloud and virtualization will play primary roles in the delivery of cost-effective IT services to LOBs.
Ultimately, the needs of the business user are at the heart of the ITaaS model. This means developing key performance indicators, financial transparency and a service delivery model that will provide the highest value to the business user, regardless of whether the user is internal or external. This model offers big benefits by placing a high priority on agility and business value and giving IT a more strategic role in the enterprise.
What Are the Risks?
As with any large transformation, ITaaS comes with challenges. Chiefly, it may be difficult to change the traditional shared-service IT mindset, and there may be resistance to implementing a new IT model.
Executive endorsement is key to the transition, and it is essential for the CIO to educate executives and middle management about how ITaaS can improve the organization’s overall competitiveness and agility.
Resistance will likely stem from IT staff, as their traditional focus has been on the functionality of a service, rather than its value to employees. Additionally, making the transformation will require redesigning roles and positions, which can create its own set of challenges.
However, as many organizations have discovered, the benefits often outweigh these risks and challenges. For example, companies in the transportation industry are implementing ITaaS to lower costs and bolster business continuity.
Before starting down the path toward ITaaS, organizations should ensure they have the right brokerage strategy and business drivers in place to start the journey. They can then start implementing ITaaS where they’ll see the biggest benefit in driving agility or competitiveness.